Return to the country of a pastor freed by North Korea

Return to the country of a pastor freed by North Korea

Return to the country of a pastor freed by North Korea

Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim on Saturday arrived home in Canada, where he was resting after being reunited with his family following a long trek from North Korea, where he had been imprisoned since 2015, according to a family spokeswoman.

Lim was arrested in 2015 for allegedly meddling in North Korean state affairs.

James Lim said his dad was in "good health", but noted that the family planned to arrange for extended medical attention, including checkups.

His family later said he was not in critical condition.

She said when Canada's allies are threatened, including the United States, "we are there".

Lim's release comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, though authorities have not said there is any connection between his release and efforts to defuse the stand off over North Korea's nuclear program.

"Having said that, I think that we need to seek ways to de-escalate the situation", she said.

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In direct conversations with North Korea and through China, Freeland said Canada sought to "get North Korea to understand that it must get off this path, which is so destructive for North Korea and the world".

The pastor's son James Lim said his dad was happy to be back home in Canada, stopping for coffee and a donut at Canada's popular Tim Horton's coffee chain on his way home from the airport.

Lim was released after serving more than two years in a North Korean prison.

The federal government says it's celebrating Lim's "long-awaited" return to Canada. He had been sentenced to hard labour for what it called crimes against the state.

Lim, a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., was involved in humanitarian projects in North Korea.

His family is expected to address the media Saturday afternoon.

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